Last night I went searching for some information regarding my post below. I wanted statistics and information on Vietnam. My intention was to do a comparison between Iraq and Vietnam. Obviously, that's not the direction my writing for that entry took.
In my search, I decided to look up something on Dr. King, that I could use for an entry today. I happened upon a website that listed some of his speeches. The usual were there but there was one that stuck out to me. It said 4 April 1967, "Beyond Vietnam." It's long but well worth the read. I learned so much more than I've ever heard before. Mostly when people think of Dr. King they think of Civil Rights, but he was much more than that. He had a greater dream:
"Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people?" they ask. And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment, or my calling."
Then, tonight I was lucky enough to catch the "American Experience" special on PBS. It touched on this very subject because it was based on his later years, the years preceeding his tragic demise. It was during those years that he began expanding upon his message and developing his dream of not only, civil rights, but peace and justice. The website has a wealth of information. One of the questions answered on the site by the filmmaker Orlando Bagwell, addresses the question regarding MLK's envelopment of poverty and the Vietnam war as part of his calling:
"And then you listen to him, when he's talking about the Vietnam War, and he's basically saying, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere. So he's constantly forcing us to realize that our individual acts or our collective acts all have repercussions or implications, and we have to consider those things and be responsible to that. That conscience is an important part of how we determine what we do every day. And the measure of our lives and the measure of the value of our lives is what we do every day. Not some days, not sometimes, but every day, all the time."
Dr. King could have done so much more for the development of humanity than even I can conceive, had he been given the opportunity to live a long life and persue his calling to the fullest extent possible. In spite of his early demise, may his calling be heard throughout the world. May all people have his same dream.